ROME, September 26 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Forest Sector Outlook until 2030, drafted by Russian experts together with colleagues from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), promotes the early adoption of the forest policy and a national forest program, deputy head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency (Rosleskhoz) Alexander Panfilov stated here on Tuesday. The document was presented at the FAO headquarters in the Italian capital at the 21st session of the FAO Committee on Forestry.
According to Panfilov, the preparation of a special program for the development of this sector has been going on for a year. It is planned to present to the government the finalised document in 2013. “This outlook is used not only in the preparation of the state program, but also in the discussion of the forest policy of the Russian Federation. The outlook actually makes a foundation for this document to be recognised not only within the country but also by the world community,” Panfilov said.
The recommendations of the independent experts, set out in the forecast indicate that the Russian forest sector needs to be modernised with the use of advanced technology for the fulfilment of its enormous potential.
According to the outlook, by 2030 the forest area in the Russian Federation will increase by almost 1.5 percent from 882 million hectares in 2010 to 895 million hectares, this is an annual increase of 660,000 hectares. This increase will occur mainly due to the artificial and natural reforestation of abandoned agricultural lands and as a result of forest expansion on non-forested lands and tundra. However, radical improvement in the investment climate in Russia would be necessary to achieve these goals, in the view of the experts.
“The outlook has three scenarios: what happens if we do nothing and let the processes go their own way, what happens if we start to work hard, and an intermediate option that determines the development ways in case the recommendations are not implemented in full. The point is that even if we go with the flow, we will still go ahead,” Panfilov said. “However, we need the state policy aimed at sustainable utilisation and preservation of forests, the development of the forest sector in compliance with the environmental priorities, in order to maintain and expand our presence on the world’s leading timber markets, as well as for the development of the market of ecological services, which at present is almost absent in our country.”
The outlook says that forests in the Russian Federation play a crucial role in stabilising the globe's climate. For example, the country provided more than 90 percent of the carbon sink of the world's boreal forests in 2000-2007.
He stressed the importance of cooperation with FAO for the Russian forest sector. “First of all, this allows us to participate in various international processes, including the development of instruments that regulate the global forest sector; it gives access to the potential and experience gained by FAO experts, as well as to the database. The third benefit is the joint work in the training of new skilled personnel,” said Panfilov, saying that an agreement between Russia and FAO on personnel work was also signed on Tuesday.
Head of Rosleskhhoz Viktor Maslyakov leads the Russian delegation at the 21st session of the FAO Committee on Forestry.